Monthly Archives: April 2013

Am I Suppose to Look Like That?

Try to remember the last advertisement that involved a woman.  Do you remember what is this woman looked like? Was she beautiful? Is she everything you want to be?

Now, we may not notice these advertisements at first.  We over look them, we don’t see the what these ads are really about. But if you look at enough of them you’ll uncover a pattern throughout all these advertisements.  We as consumers are being unconsciously manipulated, sent subliminal messages about how the standard of beauty.  We might even recognize that we get this idea of being thin through the media, but we still desire to be thin because we are surrounded by it everyday.

That’s exactly what advertisers want you to think.  They want you to want to look as beautiful as her or desire her.  It’s all about the looks these days. Well actually it’s always been that way.  Skinny, beautiful models have constantly starred in advertisements promoting various products.  These girls are the textbook definition of “beauty”, they are what we are suppose to look like.  But the funny thing is that no one actually looks like that.  The picture skinnymodel1009perfect women we see on the cover of magazines and on television are fake. They graphically altered and rebuilt to create the perfect image of a woman.  The images we see are not the original model or actress.  Their eyes are bigger and change color, their skin is pore-less, their lips are plump, cheek bones raised, their stomachs flattened and shaped, the list goes on and on.  But what is the point in doing that to a picture?  They are already beautiful, that’s how they got the gig in the first place! Is their natural beauty not enough? What do advertisers really want?  Do they realize what message they are sending to our society?

Whether they realize it or not the false pictures of these ads have detrimental on young women in our society.  The airbrushed bodies of models send the message that the only way to be beautiful is to stick thin.  The only way to be confident and successful is to be skinny.  But, that’s not true at all.  And girls will still believe those messages when they are so young because it’s constantly pushed in their faces.

When you really look at the models and actresses you won’t see a real person.  The face in the picture lacks real human features. They are so airbrushed they have flawless skin, which is completely unrealistic because everyone has at least freckles and pores on their face.  The barbie doll looking creature on the page is completely dehumanized by the graphic designers.dvd_jacket_241 (1)

I never realized all of this until I watched the most recent video from Jean Kilbourne’s series “Killing Us Softly,” which is about how women are portrayed in advertising.  I never thought that they are dehumanized and made out to be something they are not.  It’s kind of sick to alter someone’s body to make them look irresistible and perfect, when in fact no one living in this world is perfect. She states in her video that women strive to be flawless but ultimately fail because no one looks like the picture. not even the model herself.  She is asking us to recognize that what we see isn’t really there but, still women starve themselves, use plastic surgery to “fix” their flaws, and even worse die trying to look like the women in these advertisements.

Women compare themselves to the images they see.  They become unhappy with the way they look because it is not up to the standards of society. It’s sad because it’s true.  Girls and young adults pride themselves on looking thin and being the weighing the least out of all their friends.  Teenage girls especially are victims of the societal pressures.  The young girls look up to the supermodels and actresses they see in ads.  They want to look they way they look because they think they will be beautiful, happy, success, and get all the boys by looking a certain way.

The horrors the girls face in school and the peer pressure they get contributes to eating disorders and the need to modify their bodies.  Young women are the most sensitive about their body image.  They are the most impressionable in the teen years.  I think most women can agree during that time of their life that’s when they felt the most insecure.  I know I did.  I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to not listen to what anyone else thought about me.images1279317_anorexic-fake-skinny-model-colette-perfect

But unfortunately, girls develop eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia because their mental states are distorted from the association of being thin and beautiful.  Kilbourne couldn’t have said it any better: “Our popular culture seems to have the ability to make woman anywhere and everywhere feel absolutely terrible about themselves.”  Of course I understand that eating disorders are a mental illness however, the mental illness has to start somewhere.  These girls get the ideas in there head from the media and what they think society expects them to look like.

We, as human beings in this society, are responsible for each other.  There are some evils out there trying to bring us down and manipulate our way of thinking.  But we must resist those temptations to give into what should be or what we should look like.  We are all beautiful in our own way.  We shouldn’t let the advertisements of thin women dictate how people look at us or determine what weight we should be.  You choose the way you look, no one else can make that decision for you.  We need to realize that what we see in ads are not real, those people are figments of the imagination, we must fight these images and show what woman really look like.real-women

I think the only thing we can do to change our way of thinking is to become more educated to break the stigma of what beauty currently is. We have to to join together to make the world change, it has to be an environmental change, change how people think about each other and societal standards. It’s not an impossible task. Yes, it may take sometime but we cannot let that stop us from speaking up. But, there is hope, slowly but surely we are recognizing the truth behind the ads, advertisements are starting to show what real women and men look like.  You are not suppose to look like that, you are only suppose to look like YOU!

Am I Being Brainwashed?

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The wonderful world of Disney.  That’s what most people think of when they hear the word “Disney”.  But, what most people do not realize is that Disney has had a great influence in our lives.  From most of our childhoods we have been immersed in Disney, which has continued its influence all the way up to adulthood.

Now, some people argue that Disney has hidden meanings, that it sends the wrong message to children.  Well, I’ve got news for those “nay-sayers”, you are entitled to your opinion but in my opinion, you are wrong. Disney is a children’s corporation for the most part, their target audience is children.  The adults who over-analyze Disney’s motives are missing the big picture.  These stories are meant purely for entertainment, and when children watch these movies, they do not pick up on the hidden innuendos and subliminal messages that are originally put into the movie for the parents’ entertainment in the first place!

I understand that Disney has common themes about beauty and the girl always getting the guy sort of thing. But, would you rather them tell the real, dismal fairy tale of the original story to kids. Because that would go over so well… Imagine, the children would be horrified, and most likely scarred for life. Disney made these stories into something wonderful.

I grew up with Disney.  My parents tell me that I basically was a Disney movie whore. There wasn’t a day in my early childhood without Disney.  I still have all of my VHS tapes of the Disney movies.  Looking back on it now, if I didn’t have Disney in my life then, I wouldn’t appreciate as much as I do now.  I think I love it more at 19 years old, rather than when I was five.  I can’t even imagine my life without Disney.  It has bought such joy to my life.  Whenever I’m feeling down I pop in an old Disney movie. It brings back my childhood, I feel like a kid again.

I think that’s why most children love Disney.  It makes them feel good.  It has such a positive influence on a lot of people’s lives, generations have been touched by its imagination and spirit.  Disney has had a humongous influence on our culture.

One of the common themes I see in Disney movies are that the good always defeat the bad in the end.  The characters start out sort of lost or confused about who they are or where they fit into this world. Along the way the main character usually runs into trouble, usually with a villain.  That villain represents the temptation of being drawn into the evil side.  By the end of the movie we see the characters find their path and they become a better person after their journey.images (9)

Another common theme I see, especially in the princess movies, the main character wants to be their own person. Usually they end up with a prince of some sort, but I think that’s Disney’s way of throwing them a bonus.  Every princess comes to the realization that she doesn’t want to follow the rules, she wants to do what’s best for her.  I’ll be honest, sometimes their ideas are stupid and they end up in trouble but in the end they find their way purpose.

The_Little_MermaidPrincess Ariel is my absolute favorite princess. I’ve watched “The Little Mermaid” at least a hundred times, and I am not over exaggerating when I say that.  I love Ariel because to me she represents innocence, passion, desire, beauty, kindness, and adventure.  She’s just a misunderstood kid trying to find her place in her world.  She has taught me to go after my dreams and no to be afraid to do anything to get it. She’s been an inspiration to me and she always will be.

It really grinds my gears when I hear critics talk about how “The Little Mermaid” is a poor role model for children.  Okay, I understand that it seems like Ariel represent some dumb, naive  pretty girl who gives up her voice for some guy, but that’s not all what it’s about.  Ariel wants to break free from her hidden underwater life.

She wants to be different, she wants to be herself.  Living underwater unhappy, stuck in a life she doesn’t want.  Her character represents breaking away from tradition and finding something more than what you already have. Ariel wants exploration, to interact with people who are different than her.  “Bright young women, Sick of swimming, Ready to stand. And ready to  know what the people know. Ask ’em my questions and get some answers. What’s  a fire and why does it, [What’s the word?] burn. When’s it my turn?” Ariel wants to be part of a world where she feels she will be accepted for who she is. She wants to be her own person, live under her own rules, and do what she wants. She’s a normal teenage girl, just like me.

Just with this one example we can see that Disney isn’t an evil conglomerate that they are made out to be.  There’s good in every story that Disney has delivered us and has values and morals we can all live by.  I am happy to say that I grew up in a world of Disney.  I have taken some of these life lessons and lived by them.  Disney as impacted my life in a positive way.  I am thankful for the encouragement Disney has given me to be the person that I am meant to be.

Of course, Disney is not the only thing that has influenced my life.  My parents, friends, and environment have also played a gigantic role in creating the person I am today.

images (8)When we are little we don’t necessarily realize that what happens in the movies isn’t always real life.  I mean, kids know the difference between fairy tale and real life.  Eventually, as we get older we learn that what happens in the movies doesn’t always happen in real life.  But that’s the beauty of Disney because it allows us to escape the harsh reality of life and immerse ourselves into a fairy tale where everything is essentially perfect.

The Disney culture is known all over the world.  It doesn’t appear only as films, but it is a huge franchise.  Disney merely takes Disney characters and takes their influential power to sell merchandise to children.  This of course creates a demand for children to want all the toys, backpacks, clothes, bed sheets, school supplies, or whatever else would have their favorite character’s face on it.  Then, this puts a pressure on the parents to buy all the crap they know their children don’t need but they buy it anyway because it makes the kids happy.

I don’t necessarily agree with this tactic of Disney.  From a business standpoint it’s genius! However from a personal standpoint of the possibility that Disney could be exploiting parents into buying these items because if they don’t they’ll look bad in their children’s eyes is a little too far.  I agree when some critics say that it is wrong, but mind you, it is a business and they are trying to make money. The corporation is only doing what works to make them money, and they won’t stop anytime soon, that’s for sure.

Since Disney has such an enormous impact on our society I can see the advantages of having them in our lives.  They do support a lot of research and charity for all kinds of diseases, disorders, and issues people face in our country and all over the world.  Disney is most notable for their “Make a Wish” foundation, that provides kids to have their dream come true for a day.

They do give back to the community and try to do the right thing, even though it sometimes overshadowed by the negativity it receives from the critics. images (10)

Disney is going to a corporation that is never going to leave my memory and more importantly my life.  I want to give my children the same joyous childhood moments that I had with Disney.  The Disney movies and culture I grew up with helped shape the person I am today and I am thankful for Walt Disney for creating such a wonderful, often criticized, company.  There are important values and lessons we all can take from Disney.  I don’t think I have ever met someone who has never been touched by Disney. It has such an important role in our society how can we write it off as a brainwashing children? It is one of the simple pleasures in this life that critics overlook and it should not be taken for granted.

What Has Become of Us?

Have you ever thought about all the social networks are available to us? How much time we spend those sites? The hours and hours wasted on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and what ever else there is out there says a lot about the Digital Era and my generation.  The Millennial generation has taken comfort in social networks because that’s what they have grown up with.  From my own personal experience I find myself constantly on these sites.  And to a certain extent I can’t help it, it’s like second nature to check my news feed or tweet something, it’s comfortable.

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But the dedication towards these sites is alarming. People ask what are we really doing with lives? What is our obsession with posting every thought, feeling, and pointless action that we have in our lives. Do people actually care what you’re doing at three in the morning? How drunk you got last night? Or the worst: When you use the bathroom? How do we establish what is TMI or an appropriate amount of information.

As a avid user myself, scrolling through the feeds becomes more a like game. I only use them when I have free time or time to kill, so I mindlessly scroll and scroll and scroll. One can say that action can be compared to the saying “in one ear and out the other.” Half of the time, people don’t pay attention to most things they see unless it’s really outrageous, surprising, or involves themselves or their friends.  I guess my generation does not think twice about the consequences of posting vulgar or inappropriate things and how they might affect us in the long run.

The person who says it best is Andrew Keen.  The author of Digital Vertigo basically states that online sharing is affecting our lives as humans.  He is saying that we are becoming narcissistic because of the intimate detail we portray on social media and we need to think about how we use it.  I agree with him.  I feel that the human race has lost the charm of using our brains to create interesting and meaningful posts.

Posting about random, pointless things does not promote ourselves in the way that we should be.  The social media makes us lose that cognitive ability to make meaningful connections and has the ability to make us look stupid and lazy.images (6)

What we post reflects who we are.  Sometimes that can be taken the wrong way.  What you post can ultimately affect your life in the positive or negative way.  It can make you look great in some eyes, while in others it can bring your downfall.  We can control how others see us and what others can see about us.  Social media is one of those things that can bite you in the butt eventually and we need to be aware of that.

Also, I feel as though we lose some of our privacy through the social media, especially Twitter and Facebook.  But, what I’ve realized it all comes down to what we choose to post.  We have the choice of not posting every detail in our personal lives.  No one is holding a gun to our heads forcing us to spit out what we are doing, or even who we are doing, at every waking moment of lives.  But some how people, mostly young adults, use the internet as an excuse to broadcast their life.  That makes us lose our edge, the mystery of who we really are.  If you think about it you can get to know someone’s entire life before ever meeting them in person! That’s insane, but the sad thing is it’s true.

How you ever “Facebook-stalked” someone before? If you haven’t that probably is a good thing.  The practice of this “stalking” is commonly used to gain knowledge of someone else you have never met or someone you have met but want to know more about them instead of getting the know them the old fashioned way. This strategy is another way people can invade someone’s life for their own personal assessment of them, getting judged without even knowing it nor being able to defend yourself against it.

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Now, some of you may think that I am “hating” on social networks, but I’m not. We can’t let the sites dominate our lives. We have to be able to distinguish ourselves from what our profiles say about us and what we post online.  You are you’re own person. WE cannot let social media to define us, hold what we previously posted over our heads for the rest of our lives.  We have to control what goes out there about us, it’s your life, not there’s.

I’m only showing concern for my generation because we are not consciously aware of what potential dangers that are out there with social media.  There are all kinds of ways in which the social aspect is remarkably outstanding with spreading ideas and bringing issues to light. These social networks are the key to promotion.  They provide an outlet for people to share their opinions and get help when they need it.  Many activists use Facebook and Twitter to gain support for their cause.  Many companies use these sites as well to gain consumers’ attention for their products.  Which is beneficial for us because we can “get ahead” of the curve, and be in the know of the latest trends and news.

Overall, it is the Millennial responsibility to illustrate to the world that we are not letting social network impact us negatively. In fact, we are adapting to the ever changing internet and it’s new capabilities. Just like any other generation we have our pitfalls and praises of growing up in a society with new technologies.  We, as a generation, do not want to be asking, “What has become of us?”

For Better or For Worse?

2035. That’s a long ways a away.  I can’t even begin to imagine what life is going to be like 22 years from now. Thinking about it scares me. I’ll be 41 years old! My life would be half over by then! Well… Almost. The past ten years have had immense changes.  We’ve gone through a recession, a war and technological advances.  Today our society has media and technology that we couldn’t even imagine ten years ago.

It’s hard to imagine because you would think that we have everything we need already. What more could we possibly want or need?  But that’s the beauty of our world, it’s always changing, coming up with better ideas to top the already great technologies we have. Hmmm… I wonder what technology we could possibly have in the futureimages (3)

I’ve been playing around with these two ideas of the future.  One is a Utopian view and the other is a Dystopian view.  These two worlds were a lot harder to create than I thought.  I had to get in touch with my creative side, really dig deep for two opposing worlds.  Would they hurt us or benefit us? I mean I guess you can say the future is going to go two ways: it’s going to get better or it’s going to get worse.

In the dismal future of the Dystopian society technology has complete control over every person’s life.  People have become antisocial. Everything in this day and age is computer generated. There’s no need for human interaction when computers do everything, from opening doors, taking food orders, preparing food; everything is done by a machine. People choose to be alone, they choose not to interact with anyone because they are so consumed with their different forms of media, especially their smartphones.

But these are not just any smartphones, these phones can produce holographic pictures, 3D, and they practically think for you.  You can send messages without even typing, you can think it and the phone will automatically do it for you.  The phones are connected to your brainwave patterns, it can read your thoughts and you can control your phone without pushing any buttons.  But the sad part of it is that the phone eventually takes over your mind.  People become so dependent on the device that they can’t live without it because they lose the ability to do everything themselves, think for themselves.dd8b02a11f332a410ea1a125d7a507c8

They become very lazy and lack motivation to do anything. It’s like a robot is in their brain, controlling every little decision, swaying their opinion.  Now, because everyone is so lazy, there is no control over anything.  The government has taken over everything.  They monitor every little move everyone makes.  It’s kind of become a socialistic society.  There is no choice for people to make.

Because humans are so distracted with the technology at their finger tips, they have become distracted with entertainment, they have forgotten all about their political and social values.  No one cares about anything.  The country has become a depressing dismal place that no one wants to visit or see, with human beings walking around as robots, brainwashed by their phones.people_texting1

In the brighter future of the Utopian society technology has never been better.  People are smarter and more productive.  Everything moves faster, messages are received and sent faster, computers run at the speed of light and things get done.  Humans are thriving with all the media and technology they have available.

Cars are more fuel efficient. People participate in everyday life.  Cell phones have become thinner, they project onto any surface that you want.  You can project it on a table, a wall, the floor, outside, on a window, anywhere your heart desires.  Food service has become faster.  Waiters electronically send in food orders and the ovens and stoves cook food ten times faster than they used to.   Air travel will be half the time thanks to automated piloting and renovated planes to make them faster and more fuel efficient.

Everything in this society barely uses gas, almost every piece of equipment runs on solar or wind energy.  This planet is greener, countries all over the world work together to make  a more livable place.

Instead of carrying a wallet with your identification, nano chips are insert into every person, containing all of their personal information.  There’s no need for typing anything anymore.  You can hook your brain up to a computer, telling it what to do with only your thoughts.  You can upload whatever you want, there is infinite space on computers.  Computers are personally designed to meet your needs.

The economy is flourishing.  The government has completely butt-out of the economy, stopping all regulations, and spending money they don’t have.  Every person has some kind of job.  The market was able to fix itself and is operation smoothly once again, becoming profitable. Products become cheaper, people are out spending money, putting money into the economy. It’s a beautiful thing.

future_technologyTechnology in school has helped children learn quicker, become smarter than the generations before.  Their learning environments are smaller, they have more one-on-one time with teachers.  They have knowledge around them 24/7 with their personal learning tablets, that are indestructible.  The children also have access to online virtual teachers all the time.  They don’t have to go to a traditional classroom every single day, they are partially home-schooled as well.

From education to the social behavior the world was changing for the better. The human race will thrive. But this raises the question: What will happen to the media we know today? What will happen to the news, radio, films, social media websites, the internet, journalism?

There is no certainty as to what will happen to the media as we know it. But, I imagine that hard copy newspapers will go out of business. Television news will not be completely wiped out, but most of the stations will transfer to online live broadcasts. Hard copies will no longer exist.  Everything will be going digital.  The internet will takeover journalism and advertising.  Companies will have to fight for commercial air time as well as ad space on the internet.social-evolution

With all this change I hope that I’ll be able to keep up with the new the advances of technology.  I don’t want to be one of those old people who start out their stories with “back in my day….” I want to be the “cool mom” whose up to date with all the new fads and in the know with what all the kids are doing.  But, in all honestly I just want to be able to use the technology in the future. I don’t think my generation has a problem with adapting to change.

The “millenials”, as we are called, have grown up in an age where change and diversity are a common occurrence. We grew up with all kinds of new technology and media, from cell phones, to iPods, and social networks.  I have a feeling people my age and future generations with have no major problems adjusting to the advancement in our coming world.

But who really knows what lies ahead.  I’m just going with the flow.  Everything happens for a reason. Let the chips fall where they may.  And many more cliche phrases to describe the future.  But we are all in for a crazy ride that is called the future, things will change, and it could be for the better or for the worst; only we will have to wait and see.

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